Council staff in Glasgow who suffer a miscarriage will now get paid leave under new support which was agreed on Thursday.
Paid support previously only covered employees who had lost their baby to stillborn – legally defined after 24 weeks of pregnancy and who, under current UK legislation, were entitled to two weeks Statutory Parental Bereavement Leave.
Changes to current parental bereavement arrangements agreed at the City Administration Committee mean employees who have miscarried will be entitled to the same paid leave as those who suffer stillbirth.
The paid leave extends to the partners of those who have miscarried.
Councillor Allan Casey, city convener for workforce, said the updated bereavement arrangements will now allow staff the time to grief without the need to rely on annual leave, sick pay or unpaid leave if they feel unable to return to work after their loss.
Miscarriage is recognised as the most common type of pregnancy loss affecting around one in four known pregnancies.
The move means that employees will be able to deal with their grief without the additional worry of their finances and employment, the council say.
Cllr Casey said: “I hope the decision today shows our commitment to the health and wellbeing of our employees and respects and acknowledges an extremely personal life event that often people still find hard to talk about.
“Any pregnancy loss can cause unimaginable grief and sadness and affects as many as one in four women. But having additional time and support to grief without any potential financial burden or worry about your job will hopefully be some comfort during a very difficult time.
“Glasgow is now joining two other local authorities and 120 organisations across the UK who have signed up to The Miscarriage Association’s workplace pregnancy loss pledge and demonstrating their commitment to support employees following a miscarriage.”
The Miscarriage Association has welcomed the new policy and commended the council for enhancing the current provision ahead of any change to legislation.
Vicki Robinson, deputy director of the Miscarriage Association, said: “We very much welcome Glasgow City Council’s commitment to supporting its employees at what can be a very difficult, distressing, and lonely time.
“By extending Parental Bereavement Leave to staff experiencing a loss before 24 weeks, it not only gives women and their partners a period of paid leave, it’s also a clear acknowledgement that pregnancy loss can be felt as a bereavement, just like any other.
“Signing our Pregnancy Loss Pledge goes a step further still, and commits to not only offering leave, but providing thoughtful and considerate support to staff, both while they are on leave and on their return to work. We know this approach can make a real difference to people who may be experiencing one of the worst times of their lives.”